And so another school year begins. Same old, same old? Well, not quite.
Crane & building work at Orleans Park School
This September sees the arrival of sixth forms at local secondary schools. Did we say ‘arrival’, we actually meant return after a very long absence. It’s a move that has been welcomed by many residents although it’s not without its critics either, mainly over the cost. For the last 30 plus years, the provision of state sixth form education in Richmond boiled down to a choice of one establishment, Richmond College here in sunny ol’ Twickenham. Does a choice of one option really constitute a choice? We’re not sure. Either way, things have changed. Twickenham Academy took its first sixth form pupils in 2012 and now Waldegrave and Orleans Park follow suit. The Council’s new “post 16 partnership” comprises eight secondary schools in LBRuT, including Twickenham Academy, Waldegrave and Orleans Park, plus Richmond upon Thames College and even Richmond Adult Community College (yes, they do offer some courses for younger students). The range of options offered by this initiative is likely to have an impact on numbers signing up for A Levels at Richmond College and it also might prompt a reduction in the number of local kids defecting to Strode’s or Esher Colleges for their post-16 education.
All the necessary building work is not yet complete – perhaps that could become a case study for any ‘A’ Level Business Studies students out there – but September’s intake will be topping up their ink wells and breaking out fresh nibs regardless. Not all the schools are offering the same courses and there’s a document online to help prospective students navigate their way around the options for future admissions.
Meanwhile, plans for the new education campus on Richmond College’s Egerton Road site took a bit of a twist back in July when Haymarket Media announced that it would no longer be moving all of its operations from Teddington to the Twickenham site but would only be moving 20 around staff to support the new ‘tech hub’ on the campus. The company are said to be seeking a new base for their HQ elsewhere in the borough. The decision is a significant scaling back of the original plan but also serves to allay some local concerns about the scale of the whole development. According to an El Brute spokesman Haymarket’s decision would not affect the funding of the scheme nor its timetable. Work is due to begin in summer 2015.
Education, education, education. Have El Brute got this sixth form thing right? Marks out of ten, please?
* Richmond “Post 16 Partnership”
* REEC (the thing involving Haymarket at Richmond College site)
* Haymarket holds fire on move (from R&TT)
A station. In Twickenham
It’s happening. The building work at Twickenham station has really begun. There are bits of scaffolding, a new bridge, assorted hoardings, men at work and the demolition of Puccino’s cafe and the toilets on platform 4. Despite the toilets being out of action we presume drunken men are still free to continue using the nearby stairway from London Road down to Mary’s Terrace as an alternative toilet facility.
So far the disruption to rails services has been relatively small although residents in the immediate vicinity might feel that they’ve had their share of noise already. The project covers a number of improvements in the run up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup although, as you know, the “big station build” is not now going to happen until some time after England Captain Chris Robshaw lifts the Web Ellis Cup at Twickenham Stadium next October. The work is being partly funded by a grant of £1.6m from Boris’s budget. Nice one. But as we’ve said before and we’ll say again, it’s always been a bit of a mystery as to why the overarching Solum Regeneration development plan was not able to stump up enough dosh to fund all the basic station improvements required. Funny dat.
Anywayyyy… the work includes new footbridges (one between the platforms and one over the whole line) and platform resurfacing. The impact? Well, before we’re ready to enjoy a whole new and improved ‘rail customer’ experience the station needs to be closed for several days. This is going to happen over assorted weekends and all lines through Twickenham will be closed all day. Expect disruption, cranes, scaffolding, more men in orange suits and plenty of noise during those periods.
The affected days/weekends are:
13th / 14th September
20th / 21st September
Sun 28th September
Sun 9th November (morning)
We’re not being pessimistic, just realistic, when we say to you, “Check travel websites the morning after the closures in case it all overruns”. If you want to find out more about the work (but not that elusive “big build”) then there’s a public meeting hosted by El Brute and Network Rail at the Brunel Room of the RFU on Wednesday 10th September between 7.30pm and 9.00pm.
During the closures there’ll be mucho mucho changes to timetables with buses replacing trains in the Twickenham area. And when it comes to getting that crucial replacement bus service, just make sure you’re better prepared for it than Messrs Jackson and Attenborough. Good Luck!
* South West Trains Engineering Works
* El Brute Twickenham Station page
Mr Orange, Twickenham
For the second time in this saga it’s time to say goodbye to one Gloriana boathouse item and hello to a new one. You can still find our previous two items and their 600+ comments on the links below but we felt it was time to take stock of where this almighty rumpus has got to and launch a fresh article.
And with less than a week of consultation time left, we’ve even added a few more RECENT UPDATES below.
It really does appear that if Orleans Gardens is going to play host to Gloriana and her bargehouse then it’s not going to happen quietly. There are a lot of vocal locals out there expressing their disapproval. Some might call them nimbys (and that may be true in part) but it does feel like a very clear majority of the people who know and use the park are opposed to the plan. The question then is whether the views of those who don’t know it or don’t use it should be given priority? Should Twickenham locals have to “take one for the team”? And if so, who’s team is it?
Proposed site as seen from Ham
So where are we now? Continue reading
How are you getting on with them there road closures then? And what about that narrow cycle contraflow in Holly Rood too, eh? According to El Brute’s timetable, we’re about half way through the work to re-vamp the London Road / King Street / York Street junction. Despite it being holiday season there have been some pretty impressive tailbacks in the town centre recently but, let’s face it, it’s hard to re-build a road junction without disrupting traffic. Work is supposed to end on 25th August. Or rather, this current piece of work is due to end by the 25th. It’s a TWAP thing, and it’s because we’re worth it.
Road closed, Twickenham
* El Brute press release
It’s the summer silly season and things just would not be complete without a fatuous test of your Twickenham knowledge. It’s really very simple. Where is this tile? Or rather where are these tiles? There are a few of them. They’re not hidden away, they’re perfectly visible from the street. So where are they? Where is our gallant knight Sir Gareth?
A tile… in Twickenham
We’ll give you the answer… soon.
In fact we’ll do it now… it is indeed part of a series of tiles between the shops on London Road, The Munch Box, Ke Suushi, the new Bonjour dry cleaners etc.
Just when you thought you wouldn’t get another opportunity to have your say on the third runway at Heathrow, another chance comes along.
More planes Vicar?
Well, we say ‘consultation’ but this one is being run by Heathrow so you’ll need to aim off a bit for that. In this instance you’re being invited to “help shape Heathrow’s proposals for property and noise compensation”. Do what? Well, it’s all about what happens when the third runway gets approved. Oops! Did we say ‘when’? We meant ‘if’ of course. As we know, nothing will be decided until after the 2015 election.
According the the blurb, Heathrow’s plans for a third runway must “balance the wider benefits of having a successful hub airport with the effects on our local communities”. So this consultation is not about a yes / no opinion but about how Heathrow might best compensate those who would be most affected.
The consultation runs from 21st July to 12th October. There’s a website where you can give your views and there will also be a series of events across September and October including in Richmond (8th Oct) and Twickenham (9th Oct).
* Heathrow Public Consultation
Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock. It’s the sound of the present slipping into the past, of the ‘now’ becoming the ‘then’. Unless you have a digital watch, in which case it isn’t. With the metaphorical clock ticking away we realised that it was quite a while since we’d dumped a High Street Update on our readers so let us freeze time for a minute and take stock of what’s hot and what’s not in our town centre.
We’ve now added a few more August UPDATES updates at the end of this piece.
Perhaps the most surprising news, or perhaps not, it that Ales & Tails bar on York Street has served its last rhubarb gin and tonic. The guys there worked hard to make it a success and they put a lot of effort into marketing and getting involved in Twickenham events. Indeed, we even had a couple of very successful Twickenham ‘tweet up’ social evenings there. But perhaps it just wasn’t right for a town where traditional pubs rather than bars tend to the norm. Maybe it’s a rugby thing. Either way, it’s sad to see the demise of another new venture on the high street.
Ales & Tails – closed
There has been more sad and sobering news concerning a London cyclist this week. On Monday morning a cyclist was involved in a collision with a refuse truck on the A316 at the junction of Kew Foot Road and St John’s Grove, near Richmond Athletic Ground. The cyclist was taken by air ambulance to hospital with serious head injuries but died the following day. He has now been named as Henry Lang, aged 40, from Twickenham. Mr Lang was a Technical Business Analyst at Photobox and had previously worked for the Metropolitan Police and KPMG.
The Richmond & Twickenham Times quotes Detective Sargeant John Hartfree, of the Met as saying: “The road would have been very busy at the time of the collision and I believe that a number of people would have seen the incident. I would urge anyone with information to contact us on the witness appeal number 020 8543 5157.”
Mr Lang is the second cyclist to die on London’s Roads this week, the eighth this year. The police investigation is ongoing but the incident will certainly put local cycle safety back into the spotlight. Our condolences to Mr Lang’s family & friends.
* Richmond & Twickenham Times
* BBC London
Some TWAP going on
We’ve all been enjoying the road works in Twickenham over the last few months, haven’t we? After all, who doesn’t like a good old queue? We’re British, we were born to it. The good news is that more roadworks are on the way and, as with the last lot, it’s all in a good cause, the TWAP. Newer readers may not be familiar with El Brute’s Twickenham Area Action Plan (aka The TWAP) but it’s all about improving Twickenham. Unfortunately the Council seem to be making increasing use of the phrase ‘Twickenham Rediscovered’ for this work which makes it sound like we should be lacing up stout footwear and filling our Thermos flasks for a stroll through our historic town rather than watching pavements get widened and roads get dug up.
The latest stage in ‘Project Twickenham’ will see a re-vamp of the junction of King Street, York Street and London Road. It will take place between 11th and 25th August. In the first stage London Road will be closed with traffic being diverted via York Street and Arragon Road while in the second phase York Street will be closed with traffic going via London Road and Arragon Road. In other words, avoid it if you can. And as a warm up there will also be some night time resurfacing of the Arragon Road / London Road junction between 28th and 30th July.
The work will also involve the introduction of a cycle contraflow running from west to east/north on Holly Road. And if you thought Holly Road wasn’t actually wide enough to accommodate a cycle contraflow then you might find one or two others to agree with you.
After months of work most locals will be looking forward to the finished article and here at twickerati HQ we fall into that category. The work so far seems to have speeded up the flow of traffic through King Street at the expense of bigger jams in surrounding roads. But, as Grace sang way back in 1995, “It’s not over yet”. We’ll take those wise words on board, nod respectfully and wait on.
To sum it all up: It’s jam today but will it also be jam tomorrow?
Twickenham (bathed in evening light)
* LBRuT Press Release